Sunday, January 24, 2010

Journey to Thirty - Introductions

I'm 29 years old. I'm on the cusp of 30. I'll be 3 decades old before I know it. That means I'll be 946,080,000 seconds old, 15,768,000 minutes old, 262,800 hours old, 10,950 days old, 1,560 weeks old, 360 months old. If any of this math is incorrect, I'm not surprised. I'm getting older and my mind isn't as sharp as it once was.
I can't believe how time has flown by in my life. I am approaching an age that seemed so "mature" 10 years ago. It was "like 30," with a tight wrinkle free look of disgust on my face. I'm shocked, but I'm thankful. Thank you God for taking me on this journey, because we both know I cooked up numerous recipes for disaster over the last 10 years. I've made it though. Just watch my God work, honey!
So that's what I'm calling this. It's my JOURNEY TO THIRTY! I'm going to chronicle this year. I want to look back on lessons learned, heartbreak, disaster, and growth and learning. I've come a long way baby! I want to celebrate it from 29 to 30 and from 30 until God says the ride is over. (Now Lord, I'm working on cute little titles from here to age 1000 so let's not cut this ride short.)

I don't remember anything about my 20th birthday. It just doesn't stand out in my mind. I'm sure there was some sort of celebration. There was almost always some sort of birthday celebration. I remember that someone pointed out to me when I was nearing age 20 that my teens would soon be over. I probably high-fived them. It's funny but from the time you figure out age you are on the fast track to getting older. When I turned 12, I just wanted to be 13 and a teenager. When I turned 15, I just wanted to be 16 and get a driver's license. When I turned 17, I just wanted to be 18 and an adult. Then when I turned 20, I just wanted to be 21 and go look mature sitting at any body's bar with a legal drink in hand. Maybe that's why 20 is a blur. It wasn't so significant. I wasn't seizing the days. I was hurrying them past.
I remember that at age 21 I rushed to a bar. I just wanted to be able to purchase a drink, any drink. I just wanted an alcoholic beverage in my 21 year old hand. Then the bartender failed to card me. That broke my heart. Did I look old? No, it was a college town,and there was a strict don't ask don't tell code. I mean old? What was I thinking? I haven't even met old. This is still my prime, honey!
It began to get a little cloudy for me at 22. I started a relationship that I thought was perfect. He was beautiful, and he thought I was a dream. We played this dangerous game with each other's emotions. There was jealousy, infidelity, promiscuity, and competition. We called it love. I was so wrapped up in who he was that I again lost my identity. I was good at that. I would mold myself into the perfect mate or friend. Before I knew it, I was no more than his girlfriend or their friend. That was dangerous. It is so incredibly true that if you don't stand for anything, you will fall for everything. And, I did.
I was redefining myself often. It was like the second round of puberty. I had a good idea of who and what I wanted to be, but there was no foundation. I realized later that because no one ever helped me focus on molding who I was, I'd only learned how to mold myself to another person. I'm not proud of that. I'm such a strong and multifaceted person, but I spent years doing myself a major disservice. You should never allow yourself to be defined by other people. Take as much time as you need to learn enough about you that you can build a strong sense of true self. That's important. I wish someone had helped me with that. I wish I could have been strong enough to fight to be who I wanted to be. Life probably would have been drastically different. However, I am who I am NOW because of the lessons I learned along the way.
Most of 22 and 23 were the same life lived over and over with different people. I had dysfunctional relationship after dysfunctional relationship. I was so needy, but I thought you just give to get. I didn't know you were supposed to make demands and not settle for less. It's funny now because it all seemed so obvious. But I was starved for attention and affection. I had this incredible family that only seemed to know how to talk about love. We weren't that great at showing it. I needed a mother daughter and father daughter relationship that included trust, friendship, and reliability and I didn't get that. My parents had their own issues, and because I wasn't keeping up much noise I got lost in the shuffle.
Then 24 came around, and it finally felt like I was getting it all together. I had a career that I was great at. I lived in a town that I loved. I saw a future. It wasn't perfect, nor was it scratching my entrepreneurial itch, but it was great for me. I was dating a guy who was crazy about me, and I was finally feeling like there was equal sacrifice. I was his fiance, with the ring to prove it. Wedding plans were underway, and then the pregnancy test came back positive. My life went into mass hysteria. I was so excited about having a baby, but I knew I didn't want to have a baby and become a wife. Strange, I know, but I wanted to concentrate on one life altering thing at a time. Then it all fell apart around me.
Who would have thought that my seemingly perfect life could crash and burn in the blink of an eye? I started 24 in bliss, but by the time it ended I was packing up my life, and newborn, and moving back into my parents home. Life did a 360 without any warning. I was hiding from an abusive man, trying to pick up the pieces of my destroyed life, and battling depression, all with a baby in tow. I though I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I almost did. I may have. I chained smoked, gained insane amounts of weight, and slipped back into my 22 year old self. Failure.
So 25 and 26 were a total fog. They were wasted with me standing around expecting someone to save me. I was a victim of a number of tragic situations, but everyone has bad stuff happen to them. Instead of fighting back, I'd turned my life off completely and become nothing more than a victim. 27 and 28 had foggy parts. It was more about calling bad decisions foggy misunderstandings. At one point, I felt like I could lose control, but I didn't. Wow, I'm stronger than I thought. I'm blessed. I refused to fall apart, because there was no time and no desire. I had stuff to do. I had this kid to raise and this future to plan. I returned to school at 26. I let go of being a victim. I began thinking, seriously, about the future. I took a chance and finally picked a major, marketing. I completed the real estate program. I became a super student. Then at 27, I established a business. My marketing classes caused my the entrepreneur in me to take shape. I began a jewelry company, a blog, and shaping myself into an all-things-fashion consultant. Wow!
At 28, I took another break from school and rejoined the workforce. Now freshly 29, I am a single mother, business owner, and Membership and Marketing Specialist for the Girl Scouts Diamonds. I'm also returning to school in the summer. Although something had to give for a few months, I really miss being a student. I have a busy and demanding life. I am being pulled in multiple directions, and I'm short 24 hours everyday. I'm happy though.
Following, "I'm happy though," is I'm single. That's not a bad thing. It's tough at times, but it's not the end of the world. I finally realized that I suck at relationships, and I'm not ready to be in one. I was this needy, go for anything, girl. I figured out a lot when I dated this last guy. He was in the foggy parts of 27 and 28. Shortly after we faked commitment, I found out about his girlfriend. Then there was the fun of the pregnant ex-girlfriend calling. Then the continued complications of our "relationship." He and I played with my sanity up until...couple days before today. Not literally a few days ago, but it took a long time for me to realize that anyone doesn't beat no one. He's bad news. He's not good in my life. He means me no good. Some relationships are only to put you in the time and place for better relationships. He was a lesson. Now, the next man that comes along will appreciate the maturity and strength I have. I'm not bitter. I'm not going to punish the next man. I was not forced into the madness I went through. I walked that journey with both eyes wide open. I just thank God I made it through with negatives down the STD board, a tightly handled bank account, and my total sanity! Take that fool!
I'm not ready for a relationship, and I won't be until God puts the right man in my path. I'm not looking. When you look for a relationship you find a relationship. Then you regret it all.
29, this is going to be one hell of a year. I have weight loss and health plans taking shape. I'm looking at saving MUCH MUCH MUCH more money than I spend, and making plans that will outlast the day. I am going to spend more time thinking big, living out loud, and becoming a much better me than I've been in the past. This is not a dress rehearsal. I can't keep living my life for or through other people. I need to stand on my own two feet, fight past the anxiety, and allow myself to grow in a positive direction!

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